Nursing Theory and Concepts

Fundamentally, theories are an integral part of nursing as they act as the storehouse for essential findings in the research process that relates to the meta-definitive concepts in nursing, as illustrated by different researchers and healthcare practitioners. In essence, nursing theory is used to provide the principles that help in generating nursing knowledge as well as underpinning practice. As such, a theory explains, describes, predicts, and helps researchers understand the givenphenomenon (Gomez, 2016). For instance, in nursing conceptsare derived are from conceptual models which are a representation of systems and are used to assistnurses in gaining knowledge, simulating and understanding a phenomenon represented in a particular model. Therefore, nursing researchers use concepts to place variousresearch findings within the contexts of science, tocreate an organized structure for their studies, and guide hypothesis development and testing.

The need theory whose chief proponent is Virginia Henderson has four significant conceptsthat support nursing care (Colwell, 2015). According to the need theory, the ultimate role of a nurse is to assist clients ill or well, in the performance of activities that contribute to health or recovery. The proponent of this theory emphasizedthe significance of enhancing a patient’s independence so that the patient can continue to heal even after hospitalization (Doroszkiewicz, Sierakowska, &Muszalik, 2018). As such a nurses’ role is substitutive, supplementary, and complementary with the goal of assisting an individual to become independent. Henderson categorized nursing activities in 14 components and four major concepts based on human needs. The conceptsof the need theory include environment, nursing, health, and individual.

At an individual level, a nurse should ensure that a patient receives basic needs as a component of health. Secondly, a patient needs assistance to acquire independence, recovery or a peaceful death. Thirdly, a person’s body and mind are interrelated and inseparable. Fourthly, a nurse should consider the psychological, biological, spiritual and sociological components that surround a patient. Lastly, the need theory presents a patient’s total parts with biopsychosocial needs. At an environmental level, a patient must learn new abilities and unique patterns for living when and after recovering (Doroszkiewicz, Sierakowska, &Muszalik, 2018). A nurse must understand all the external factors and conditions that impact life and development. Another tenant of the environmental concept is that a patient’s family, as well as the community, affects a patient’s recovery.

The health concept emphasizes the need for a nurse to promote prevention of recurrence and cure of the disease. Secondly, it holds that maintaining good health is a challenge because it is impacted by intellectual capacity, emotional balance, cultural background as well as the patient’s age. The last concept is nursing and involves the temporary assistance that a nurse provides an individual who lacks the skills, knowledge, and strength to achieve basic needs (Doroszkiewicz, Sierakowska, &Muszalik, 2018). A nurse’s role is also focused on making a patient whole or complete by helping him/her to be independent. Additionally, a nurse should have the skills to practice patient-centered care and should be a scientific problem solver.

The nursing practice where these concepts and theory can be effectively applied is when a nurse is taking care of newborn care. In the 1990s, clinicians were required to bath newborns immediately afterbeing delivered to prevent the likelihood ofblood infections, pathogens, and diseases affecting the baby from the mother’s virginal fluids (Colwell, 2015). Present, nurses have been advised against washing a newborn immediately after birth. Research studies assert that avoiding giving newborns baths immediately after being born to help to leave thevernixcaseosa undisturbed.From the environmental concept, the vernixceseosa helps in regulating body temperatures, maintaining skin protection and ensuring that oxidation does not take place toprevent the baby’s skin from being damaged by the UV light thus providing most of the requirements suggested by the need theory. The nursing concept helps a nurse to ensure the necessary conditions so that they can be independent in terms of breathing, feeding and using their arms and other body organs. The health concepts help a nurse to handle the newborn with care to avoid being infected considering hospitals have very many bacterious that can affect a newborn. Lastly, on an individual level, the nurse ensures that the newborn is not suffering mentally, physically or emotionally due to stressors in the hospital. In essence, a nurse applies the need theory when taking care of a newborn by applying various concepts which include: modifying the environment to ensure warm temperatures, allowing for enough sleep and rest, providing normal breathing, drinking adequately, feeding the newborn, dressing and undressing, adjusting newborn clothes, ensuring the newborn eliminates body wastes, ensuring body hygiene and avoiding injuries and dangers in the environment.

Summarily, theories attempt to lend meaning and organize reality. Concepts are used to place research findings within the context of science and provide an organizing structure for their studies. The need theory proposed by Virginia Henderson emphasizes on the need to make a patient independent by providing the necessary conditions, skills, and knowledge. The four major concepts of the need theory include environment, individual, health, and nursing



Colwell, A., (2015). To bathe or not to bathe: the neonatal question. Neonatal Network34(4), 216.

Doroszkiewicz, H., Sierakowska, M., &Muszalik, M. (2018). The utility of the Care Dependency Scale in predicting care needs and health risks of elderly patients admitted to a geriatric unit: a cross-sectional study of 200 consecutive patients. Clinical interventions in aging13, 887.

Gomez, V., (2016).The Research-Theory-Practice Relationship a Reference for the Discipline of Nursing.Annals of Nursing Research and Practice.file:///C:/Users/Latitude%20vPro/Downloads/fulltext_anrp-v1-id1004.pdf

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